Q&A: climbing plants

Horticultural advice from the experts at the RHS
Question: My house has a horrible white pebble dash front facing wall which I am keen to cover with a nice climbing plant that won’t damage my property or block up the gutters. I like the look of Clematis armandii but am not sure. Do you have any suggestions or advice about that plant or any others that maybe better suited?

Answer: Clematis armandii would clothe the wall, but lower sections can become a little bare at the base in time.

Consider Trachelospermum jasminoides an evergreen with white scented flowers in summer. It reaches a height of around 4m and loves a warm sunny wall with well drained soil. It does not need to be trained as it is self-clinging. As long as the house walls are in good shape, self-clinging climbers should not do any damage.

For an unusual choice, try Schizophragma integrifolia for its white flowering heads up to 30cm across. Any reasonable soil will suit and it performs in sun or part shade and is self-clinging.

For quick cover and early reliable flowering go for Clematis montana in pinks or white. Vitis cognetiae has larger more rounded leaves than other vines, impressive autumn colour and looks superb when allowed to cover a large area.

Both climbers need to be trained along and up wires placed 30-45cm apart. However, it’s best to stop the wires short of the eaves to prevent scrambling climbers heading towards tiles and gutters.


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Only a few questions per month can be answered. For further advice on handling problems in your garden, visit www.rhs.org.uk/advice/index.asp.

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